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7-15-20 A Message from The Reverend "Chuck" Alley


A Message from the Reverend "Chuck" Alley
Rev. Chuck Alley
He has shown you, O man, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly, and to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
The Prophet Micah was knee-deep in the chaos and corruption that was Israel in the 8th Century B.C. The northern kingdom was being invaded by the Assyrians, and Judah was being threatened with the same fate. According to the prophet, the invaders were God's tool for the punishment of his disobedient people. Even in Jerusalem, the leaders of the people, the priests of the Temple, and the merchants in the market were apostate and corrupt beyond redeeming. In addition, the people were all too willing to join them in their godlessness. In the middle of his condemnation of Jerusalem, Micah pauses to ask the question of what the people should do to obey God. His answer is that they are to act justly...love mercy...walk humbly with...God.
In Hebrew teaching, often the last item in a list is the most important because the earlier items are predicated on the last. The Prophet is not presenting a check list of behaviors from which we are to choose the best fit. Rather, Micah describes an interrelated whole where all the parts must be assimilated in proper balance in order for the goal to be realized. In brief, justice without mercy becomes hate, and mercy without justice results in indifference. As an example of justice without mercy, there was once a priest in Diocesan Council who declared that "It was time to exclude those who exclude others." On the other hand, mercy without justice could be summarized in the dismissive statement, "Boys will be boys." The bottom line is, that if human definitions of justice and mercy rule our behavior, we will never experience justice and mercy.
If we are to act justly and love mercy, we must walk humbly with...God. Humility is the quality of understanding whose we are and knowing that we do not have all the answers-that we are not the final arbiters of truth. The opposite of humility is pride, which is the root of all sinful behavior. Only by following Jesus as the Son of God, can we observe godly mercy and divine justice. Mercy and justice are only perfectly merged in self-sacrificial love. Jesus didn't tear down the Temple, try to overthrow the Romans, or brow-beat the citizens of Israel-he died on the Cross!
Yours in Christ,

7-8-20 A Message from the Reverend Chuck Alley
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